I am woken up at 6am by my four-year-old daughter, who jumps on top of me an hour before my alarm goes off. It is the only way I know how to start the week and I would not change it for the world. After a shower, coffee and breakfast, I start my week by listening to the news before consulting my calendar and prioritising the many double meetings I have booked. Their priority is set by many factors including updates from my CFO, my vendors, and my channel manager. I then meet with my heads of business followed by my CFO. In the afternoon I have multiple client meetings before ending the day with a game of tennis in the evening.
We are growing rather fast as a business so I use the early morning to strategise with my team and align the company to my vendors’ needs and client requirements. I then hold multiple vendor/client meetings before lunch at my favourite restaurant, Café Italiano. Having satisfied my carb craving, I review our targets and adjust them based on month-on-month performance, market conditions and sales team capabilities. This gets done rather quickly and I immediately download the targets to my sales and marketing team. After the usual protests, they agree and we move onwards and upwards. After work I take my son for sushi, help him with his homework, and then check my emails before sleeping.
Today starts with a breakfast meeting with a client, followed by multiple supplier meetings. I have my finger on the company pulse to make sure motivation is high and we have no casualties. A potential new vendor visits us and makes a pitch to take them on as a supplier. Although I like their product and brand, I need to keep focus and so reject their pitch. I take off slightly early in the afternoon to get my hind beaten by my tennis coach, followed by my ritual steak night with old friends at Hunters Room and Grill at the Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi.
I wake up at 3.30am worried about the presentation we need to give to our client. As I start to go through it I realise it’s not the presentation that woke me up but the excess protein consumed a few hours before. This is quickly forgotten as I return to bed at 5am. The working day starts with multiple client meetings, including a visitor from outside the UAE. I get excited as I make the presentation, even though I have done a variation of it at least a million times. My company is my third child, which is why it means so much to me. On Wednesdays I work late, so I return home after 9pm.
My morning is free, so I start the day at 9.30am with a sales team meeting, followed by a client lunch. In the afternoon I evaluate the weekly reports with the sales team to understand what we sold, what went right, and what went wrong. A logistics meeting follows, to make sure we delivered all our commitment for the week. My CFO then updates me on the status of collections. This week we have a shipment stuck in Hong Kong so we spend the rest of the afternoon working out a viable solution. After solving the problem, I make sure we all leave by 6pm so that everybody can have a good start to the weekend. Thursday night is date night with my family – a pleasant way to end the working week.
I desperately try to sleep past 8.30am but cannot so I take the family to the beach club where we swim and sunbathe. We enjoy some Italian food for lunch, followed by more tennis in the afternoon and dinner with my wife and a few friends in the evening – this time with no kids.
I make an early start so that I can help my daughter make our usual chocolate and orange cake. She likes to break the eggs and stir the flour. This is followed by basketball practice for my son who is naturally gifted in the sport, with no losses in 2016 and most valued player award in December. I take an afternoon nap and then get back to the emails so that I can plan the week ahead. Calls start to trickle in from clients outside the UAE, and I feel excited as I look forward to Sunday morning and the usual wake-up call.